‘An Urgent Request’

23:59 Mon 09 Jul 2007
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“What are you doing, barging in here? You can’t do that, how did you get past the—”
“Come on, they know who I am, and I told them it was an emergency. It is an emergency!”
“What’s going on?”
“I need to talk to him.”
“What about?”
“It’s personal.”
“What do you mean, personal? You just said it was an emergency, David!”
“But, well, it’s about my divorce.”
“What about it?”
“It looks like she’s going to get everything!”
“Look, calm down, I’m sorry, but what does this have to—”
“That’s what I need to talk to him about.”
“Look, his schedule is very busy—”
“I’m not some nobody, Joshua!”
“Look, he—”
“I know he’s here right now!”
“Yes, but… have you talked to Dick?”
“Nobody knows where Dick is!”
“Oh… I might be able to find you a slot tomorrow.”
“I need to see him, Joshua, right now, it’s important.”
“You said it was about your—”
“It’s important, I’m telling you!”
“Okay, he’s in with Karl, give me a moment…”

“Okay, you can go in, I told them it was urgent—you owe me on this, David.”

“What can I do for you, David?”
“Afternoon, sir, Karl.”
“Well, sir, it’s about my wife.”
“Your wife? Joshua told me this was some kind of emergency.”
“It is, sir. My wife’s going to get most of my money in our divorce proceedings.”
“Sorry to hear that, Senator.”
“It’s that damn woman, who leaked all those names to the press! I thought that it would all be confidential!”
“We were all sorry that came out, David.”
“Sir, can’t you do something about this? I’ve worked tirelessly for the party, you know I have, and you know I stood strong for you in ’05.”
“No-one questions your loyalty, David, but how can I help out here?”
“That woman should never have been allowed to leak those names, sir. Never. It was a travesty, a gross violation of privacy, a terrible invasion of my personal life, the personal lives of many more.”
“Yes, of course, of course.”
“So if she’d never been able to leak it, my wife would never have found out. I denied it all in ’04, it was safely locked away, forgotten. But now my wife used it in evidence! It’s not right, especially since not all the names came out.”
“Senator Vitter, I hope you’re not—”
“Let him finish, Karl, it’s okay.”
“Thank you, sir. You can see it’s not right. It’s excessive. It’ll be a stain on my career, if she wins the divorce proceedings. You’ve got to stop that from happening! Commute the divorce proceedings!”
“I can’t do that—right, Karl?”
“I don’t think you can, sir. I might be able to find something, though. Really more like Dick’s kind of thing.”
“Could you bring him in here? Tell him it’s urgent.”
“Nobody knows where he is.”
“Oh. Well, you’re stuck with just me and Karl, here. Let’s work something out. I could talk to the judge. I might be able to replace the judge. I might be able to talk to your wife.”
“Can you do that, sir? Maybe if you gave me a pardon—”
“A pardon? What have you been convicted of?”
“I mean a pardon for the adultery, sir.”
“Well, I, um. Sure, why not?”

(550 words)

3 Responses to “‘An Urgent Request’”

  1. Lev Says:

    Ah, but a pardon implies guilt. So the senator would still lose his wife (and his shirt). Oooh! A zeugma!

  2. Brett Says:

    Wow, that’s the coolest word I’ve heard in a while (“zeugma”). Lev, you must be a killer at Scrabble…

  3. Tadhg Says:

    Lev: yes, but a pardon also precludes punishment (or further punishment) for the offense, so if his wife accepted the pardon, he would be protected—possibly even from the divorce itself. And given some things his wife has said, that protection might be quite important…

    Lev/Brett: zeugmas are cool, but I have a hard time coming up with good ones—especially when I’m trying to explain what a zeugma is, for some reason. This is a favorite of mine: “She lowered her standards by raising her glass, her courage, her eyes and his hopes.”

    Also, note that these examples (and Lev’s) are syllepses, and that a syllepsis is strictly speaking a sub-type of zeugma.

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